Expand is a meditative video game in which you explore a circular labyrinth that constantly twists, stretches and expands around you.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (45 reviews) - 84% of the 45 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (128 reviews) - 90% of the 128 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 30, 2015

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Notice: Playing with a controller is highly recommended, but not essential.

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Includes OST

Downloadable Content For This Game

 

Reviews

“This unique experience is well-paced, polished, and brimming with ideas, and backed by one of the best scores I’ve heard in years.”
8/10 – Cam Shea, IGN Australia

“Expand is a wonderfully original experience that defies easy definition, but when you play it, you will know. You will know you've played something special.”
Mark Serrels, Kotaku Australia

“Expand is fiendish and clever, but what really stands out about it is how curiously emotional the experience is. It's definitely one of the most interesting games being developed in Australia right now.”
James O'Connor, games on net

About This Game

Expand is a 2D indie minimalist game in which you guide a pink square through a circular labyrinth that constantly rotates, unfolds and expands around you. Navigate through a world that can easily lift as well as harm you, keeping you disorientated and unfamiliar in your surroundings.

A world set in five stages, Expand offers an atmospheric experience of exploration, discovery and introspection through gameplay and compelling soundtrack designed to immerse you deeply into its allegorical themes.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows Vista
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 8800 or Radeon® HD4800 series, 512 MB of memory
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.9 - Mavericks
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 64bit
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 300 MB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 8800 or Radeon® HD4800 series, 512 MB of memory
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Very Positive (45 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (128 reviews)
Recently Posted
CasualCheetah
1.9 hrs
Posted: August 28
Expand was a strange experience.

I half expected this game to be a sort of bullet-hell. Turns out the game has an amazing soundtrack, is trippy to play [with all the crazy stage-shifting] and has a story.

It’s a short but beautiful game that emphasizes both art and gameplay. Expand entirely worth picking up!
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The-Nub
1.7 hrs
Posted: August 27
Beautiful, tight, and cleverly designed. It deals in one mechanic and executes on it to its fullest. Not a wasted second, not a blemish to be seen. The music is beautiful and the gameplay is trance-like. Highly recommended.
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TheTitaniumDragon
1.6 hrs
Posted: August 27
Expand is about pure and simple gameplay.

In Expand, you are a pink cube which is navigating through a circular environment. The game is entirely centered around this mechanic; the world is circular and you are constantly going in circles, going in and out towards and away from a ring in the center. It is akin to top-down gameplay, navigating through rooms, but is very stylized, and the rooms are all circular. The rooms change around you, and you are frequently being pushed or pulled through the environment, dodging things as they go, or else trying to navigate your way through a maze ahead of a wall of death, or narrowly avoiding death from things moving in and out of the walls.

Very little of the game involves much in the way of thought; it is much more about reflexes and execution, though there are a few simple puzzles here and there.

It is a very simple game, but it is somehow satisfying; the simplicity allows for some very pure gameplay, and the visuals (and audio) all work together to make for a solid experience.

That being said, this game is very short; I beat the whole thing in 94 minutes. There are no achievements, no secrets, no nothing – just you and making your way through the levels. There are four major areas, plus a fifth one at the end after you beat those four.

I can’t say I didn’t have fun. But at the same time, this is not a particularly deep experience; it is just pure gameplay. And – I’ll say it again – it is quite short.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend paying much for this game, but if you can get it for cheap, it can be a brief but positive experience.
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The Toast With the Most LLC
1.5 hrs
Posted: August 27
Got it as part of the Humble Indie Bundle 17, this game alone has to me easily justified the amount I paid. The gameplay varies from painful to exciting, the musical score is fantastic especially at the game's climax, and while perhaps not something that would be replayed it makes for a great one-time experience. If anyone's played Journey, this may be right up your alley. It's very much within a similar niche where it's not necessarily a big loud action game with a lot going on but is memorable and has a buildup despite that.
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MechLovin
3.4 hrs
Posted: August 27
9/10

+ Smooth controls. Gamepad highly recommended though
+ Good music that ramps up and down dynamically
+ Very clever and 'different' level design
+ Compelling til the end. Doesn't feel laborious

- gfx are simple (minor gripe)

+/- Game's length was just right for me, but some people may find it too short
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Amalzain
1.7 hrs
Posted: August 27
This is a hypnotic action puzzle where you maneuver a square through an ever-changing circular maze. It's minimalistic in presentation; white is clear, black is blocked, red is deadly, and pink means success. There's practically no introduction, or text, or anything but pure game, and it works very well. The way the sequences move and transform sucks you in, and I played straight through in one sitting. There's not a whole lot of replay here, but the experience is very enjoyable. It took just under 2 hours to play through.
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KoelBox
1.6 hrs
Posted: August 27
Product received for free
great chill game, i love the reset system if you make a mistake.
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aaronshivers
0.1 hrs
Posted: August 27
no
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alan_emedece
0.7 hrs
Posted: August 27
Mesmerizing game. Loved the aesthetics and mood swings alongside music...respected the mechanics. Worth your time.
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Eulersgold
1.8 hrs
Posted: August 27
Simple idea with a great soundtrack. Played with a controller. A few tricky areas, but nothing stumped me for very long. More than anything I found this game relaxing. Again, the soundtrack is wonderful. If you like Sigur Ros, you'll be right at home with the music. Although there really isn't a story, I still felt like the level designs were intended to evoke a feeling of undoing something trapping you. But the pleasant music says "this is a safe place to find your way out."

I'm probably over thinking it.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 23
Relaxing, entertaining and clever gameplay paired with fascinanting visuals, all of this with a nice soundtrack. A really tight package if you're looking for a innovative and minimalist adventure.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 2
Product received for free
Expand is a rather unique game and very hard to describe for me. That said, if you’ve seen the trailer on Steam and found it intriguing or if you found yourself fond of the music, I’d say to go ahead and give this one a shot for it is quite the journey

First things first, and the game does warn you about this, it is highly recommended to play with headphones and controller. I tried playing with keyboard and I just couldn’t deal with it, controller is the way to go here. The reason why a controller is highly recommended to play Expand is because pretty much every single level has a core in the middle which “pulls” you towards it and, because of that, as you move towards it or away from it, the level will either expand or compress creating some pretty hypnotizing visual effects. The music is probably the thing I most enjoyed in the game and I feel like it is a key piece in making the game feel special as it is. As the levels change and morph, the music is synced with every motion and everything looks and feels very smooth and engaging.

Although the core of the game is pretty simple, it is rather hard to describe it as a game on its own. It is played via a top down view and you control this pink cube through a series of maze-like levels that change shape as you move, forcing you to adapt to sudden level changes. I saw some people describing this game as a puzzler or saying that it has some puzzles but I don’t really think that is the case here. There isn’t really any puzzle that needs solving, you need only to progress through a series of obstacles and the ones that require the slightest of efforts usually just require you to get the timing right in running across the level, overall I’d say the game is pretty easy and accessible.

After beating the game I can only think of 2 things that I didn’t really enjoy or wished they were better. The first one was the fact that the game is really short, it takes somewhere between 2 to 3 hours to complete but then I started thinking and came to a conclusin. I guess this type of game could become somewhat of a burden to play for a very long time so while I wish it was longer, I can kind of comprehend why it is this short. It is a very relaxing game that you can play at any time and overextending it would probably ruin the whole experience. Speaking of length, if you try to rush certain sections of the game it’s most likely that you’ll fail because there are times when you need to stop, analyze what’s ahead of you and plan accordingly, otherwise you’ll just fail over and over. The other complaint I have is the fact that the options menu is implemented in the game world itself which, despite the fact that I find that amusing, it is rather dull since it forces you to sit and watch the various transitions between options. It would be much better to be able to do the same thing in less than a few seconds by just pressing a few buttons.

It has been almost an year since the game got released on Steam and I was unaware of its existence until a few days ago. Maybe it’s just me but I feel like this one went under the radar for a lot of people. Eitherways, Expand is an extremely relaxing game in which you explore and progress through a series of mazes spread across 5 different chapters. Even if this type of game isn’t your sort of thing, I still think it is worth the shot for it features one of the most beautiful and amazing soundtracks I’ve ever listened to, and that alone is well worth the price for me.

This review is part of the Steamified Community Review program. For giveaways and similar reviews please visit http://www.steamified.com/
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 23
Clever little game. Great experience.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 23
Very enjoyable maze game with wonderful music.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 26
A beautiful game with a fantastic soundtrack.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 26
Expand is a 2d minimalist game. However don't let that fool you, there's a lot of game play and some difficulty in this game.

The game has a little clever trick involved in it. Pressing up makes the player go towards the top of the screen. However since the world is a circle, this could mean going higher or lower. However not many of my deaths were due to the controls, and in fact it was quite a clever control scheme.

The game basically involves four colors. White for space you can go, Black for walls, Pink for yourself, and red for danger, simple, and rather than changing the rules, it lives and dies by those rules.

On the other hand there's four major areas of the game, and each one is based on a different "theme" for instance "control" where what you do in the game, changes the world (maybe moves the walls, or danger areas). Each area is quite different and worth playing through, and the final area is a great climatic end.

In fact I could find only ONE issue with the game, it's only about 2 hours. However those hours are fantastic and let you really explore and experience the game. This is a TRUE minimalist game mind you. While there's music, there's no story, no attempt at theme, it's a pure game play experience, and it works.

I would recommend this game to anyone who likes a little challenge, and a fantastic experience, with wonderful music. It's not overly relaxing (as there are some challenge), but it's nice to play a game distilled down to a simple concept, and then deliver a couple hours of quality gameplay.

Note: I got this game on Humble bundle and in a bundle I already purchased, however I find the game to be fantastic, and would gladly have paid approximately three dollars for it. 6 dollars may be a little high, but the two hours I spent with it was brilliant, and I'll probably replay it some day soon.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 25
I picked this up in with a Humble Indie Bundle, and from the trailer I thought "that's neat, but I don't see myself loving it." But, as the Indie enthusiast I am, I gave it a go.
And loved it.

Just from the main menu you can already tell the level of polish Expand has in it. The controls are silky smooth, and, well, beautiful. The menu in itself is unique and shows off Expand's 'level' design. And the soundtrack is beautiful. Even before starting the game I could already tell it was something unique, and something quite beautiful in its own respects.

But what is it? Expand is a game about moving a pink cube around a black and white circular "map", all the while trying not to get crushed, mind-blown, or hit the moving red things. It seems simple in its premise, but what makes it special is the way it presents itself. The game takes place on one screen throughout its entirety. One circle, one maze, except that the maze is ever shifting an ever changing, reacting to the player's movements and creating new paths as the player progresses.
And all of this is to a stunning piano/instrumental soundtrack.

If you like Indie Games,
get this game.

If you like new and interesting ideas/experiences,
get this game.

If you like yourself,
get this game.

10/10, 'nuff said.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 23
Enjoyable and visually interesting gameplay paired with tight controls and a fitting soundtrack. 4 engaging and well paced sections that get tied all together.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
51 of 58 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 1, 2015
Video Review:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1TLMTBzUfI

TLDR: Expand is an interesting and innovative little indie game that might not appeal to everyone. It's a relaxing game about exploration and puzzle solving and I have enjoyed my time with it. Considering the price, if you are looking for something to fill a couple of hours or relax with after a long day you can't go wrong.
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28 of 32 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
9.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 30, 2015
Follow me, says the game with a chime.

A week ago, I received an email from Expand developer Chris Johnson inviting me to play the game ahead of release. Since it was a game I was already interested in, I jumped at the opportunity.

Chris describes the game as a "meditative exploration through shifting circular labyrinths". It is a game that I find hard to frame my thoughts on - Chris' words are certainly accurate, but the game has another quality to it that's a little more difficult to define.

"What I found interesting about creating Expand," notes Johnson in the game's press release, "Is how you can convey a lot of emotion and movement using minimal colours and patterns.

The world can feel seamless as the unfamiliar space revolves around the player with no distinct loading breaks and this unfamiliarity is heightened by the soundtrack that cues off animations to the note.
"


Against the tide.

When I first spotted Expand, it was from across the showroom floor at PAX Australia in 2014, sitting next to the Assault Android Cactus as part of the Australian Indie Showcase, and I remember stopping for a moment to appreciate the level of diversity that that juxtaposition represented.

A friend of mine had mentioned earlier in the day that they loved the game and suggested I should stop by. I lingered near the booth, hoping to get a moment to chat with the developer, but the crowd of interested players didn't show any sign of dissipating and I watched others play for a while before moving on to catch a panel.


Be aware.

At first, Expand's circular "levels" (I'm not sure if "level" is the best word, but it's what I'm going to use here - they feel more like locations or environments in some abstract kind of way) seem like disjointed movement challenges, but it quickly becomes apparent that you are moving through a some kind of flatland-esque disc-shaped world, with sparse, but evocative cryptic instructions driving you onward through its labyrinthine settings.

The game itself is fairly short (nominally 2 - 3 hours' worth of play), but for something that's so minimalist, it expands out into an experience that feels longer and larger than it is. I'm yet to reach the end, but I feel confident that the game has more to tell and show me.

The game's gamepad inputs are simple - move an analogue stick to guide your avatar in that direction. The keyboard inputs are unexpectedly different, however, with right for clockwise rotation, left for counter-clockwise rotation, up for ascending towards the centre, and down to descend away. This is due to some coordinate wrangling hurdles that are easier to overcome with analogue axes than binary key presses. I generally find gamepads unpleasant to use, but in this case, I opted for gamepad controls.


Patience is needed.

There's something relaxing about watching people play Expand. It gives a sense that it's a game best played when you're at peace and can let the world drift away. There are points in the game that are timed (and some points where that timing becomes tight), but in the 5 hours I've spent in the game, I'm yet to find it to feel reflex oriented. Typically, Expand gives players plenty of time and space to observe and understand the challenges ahead.

In the event that the player does slip up, the level's shapes cycle and rewind back to the position of the most recent checkpoint, but offset slightly from its location when you passed there previously. This subtle, but significant change means that repetitive strain is lessened by having slightly different sets of movements to make, and over time evens out any inherent difficulty that might be caused by orientation (if you've ever tried to draw a circle, you might have found that you have an easier time drawing them in one direction than the other. After playing Expand for a little while, I began to wonder whether there were particular movements that I was less "good at" on particular orientations - thanks to this rotation on failure I never felt like that was handicapping me).

There are periods in the game where the placement of checkpoints feels sparse (particularly towards the end of a set of locations). While this means that these sequences can and will take a little longer, the value of preserving pacing and flow makes this choice feel justifiable.


Be close.

Outside of the menu, Expand's soundtrack feels dynamic and full, bringing a sense of atmosphere whilst also enhancing the sense of deliberateness that the movement of each scene's elements has as they dance and oscillate in time with the melodies.

"With Expand," says composer Chris Larkin, "We didn’t want to be bound by traditional narrative structures or characters. This is echoed in the soundtrack where core melodies create a slow emotional anticipation and, in combination with the minimalist art style, it allowed us to explore and evoke different moods without the constraints of a pre-defined genre or story."

"Like the game design, the approach to composing the music has been that of intuition. Consequently the result is something that is very personal to us."

I think I've found a word for that quality I couldn't describe earlier. I think it might be intimacy. It's clear that Expand is a labour of love and while I have never personally met either Chris, I feel somehow connected to them after playing an hour of this game.


And keep moving.

After a quick exchange this afternoon, I assisted Johnson in identifying and resolving a Linux specific multi-monitor issue. It turns out that he's a Linux user himself and that Expand was 90% developed on Elementary OS (I'm assuming that the remaining work was done on Windows and Mac whilst porting and fixing platform specific bugs). He uses Vim as his development environment and builds with Clang. It's always refreshing to discover a new Linux using developer, and this lead me to look at Chris' previous work.

Pouring over Johnson's previous games, one in particular stood out to me, a monochrome game with a circular playing field called Everything Shall Come to an End, which was made for a game jam in 2010. It is simple and lacks music, but it's easy to see that the raw seeds of Expand were sewn back then, and have since grown into something polished and grand.

"We essentially created Expand to highlight how a beautiful world can be created using only simple variations on game rules and environments," says Johnson.

Expand will certainly not suit everybody. Its slow pacing and thoughtfulness set it well apart from games like Super Hexagon that may superficially look similar. I'm very glad to have spent time with Expand though, and for anybody else who's interested, the game is releasing today on Steam, Humble Store and http://hypernexus.itch.io/expand.

(I originally published this on the 1st if October 2015 at GamingOnLinux)
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